- Three student data bills are currently on the table in Congress: the Student Privacy Protection Act from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), the Student Digital Privacy & Parental Rights Act of 2015 from Reps. Luke Messer (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO), and the Protecting Student Privacy Act from Sens. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT).
- EdSurge reports that a Whiteboard Advisors survey found that 71% of a group of 50-75 "insiders" — ranging from state education leaders to current and former White House, Congressional, and Education Department staffers — believe Markey and Hatch's bill will ultimately provide a framework for privacy legislation.
- Still, despite that bill's effort to provide a greater balance between innovation and privacy, 42% said they don't believe that any of the three proposals will provide a framework.
As tech and student data play a bigger role in schools, privacy has gained prominence among education's hot button issues. Many educators and parents, understandably, aren't particularly comfortable with the potential for students' personal data to be used for marketing purposes or exposed in a cyberattack. As a result, invoking student data privacy fears has also become pretty powerful politically, thus explaining the sudden influx of bills aimed at addressing the issue. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Congress is also in the midst of renewing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, making education top-of-mind on Capitol Hill. Elements of each of the above proposals could make it into that legislation, though this issue is likely to hold on to its piece of the spotlight for some time to come.